THE BLOG
10/03/2014 09:26 am ET Updated Dec 03, 2014

Explaining Gardner's Mysterious Personhood Hypocrisy

Why did senatorial candidate Cory Gardner drop his endorsement of Colorado's personhood amendments but remain a co-sponsor of the federal personhood bill -- both of which would do the same thing, ban all abortion, even for rape and incest, as well as common forms of birth control.

It would have been so easy for Gardner to uncosponsor the federal personhood bill. He's even uncosponsored at least one bill before (not a personhood bill but still, an real-life bill!

Instead, he's left saying, "There is no federal personhood bill," and getting beat up for it by reporters (here and here) and Democrats alike. And rightfully so.

Here's my best shot at explaining Gardner's mysterious personhood hypocrisy, as posted on The Denver Post's website:

In contrast to state personhood ballot initiatives, the path to legislating personhood via re-defining "person" in the U.S. Constitution, like what's mandated by the Life at Conception Act, is embraced by the national Republican Party platform. Also, 153 members of Congress, (132 in the House and 21 in the Senate) co-sponsored the Life at Conception Act, along with Gardner. The Senate sponsor of the bill is Rand Paul, widely considered a leading GOP presidential contender.

If Gardner declared the federal personhood bill a well-intentioned mistake, like he did Colorado's personhood amendments, he'd have abandoned the all those Members of Congress. He'd also be alienating powerful anti-abortion organizations and countless GOP activists. There's a national movement built around the concept of enacting personhood via constitutional amendment. Not so much with state-based personhood initiatives.

It would be infinitely messier, politically, for Gardner to break ranks with backers of the federal personhood bill than from local pastors and churchgoers who've pushed Colorado's personhood amendments and represent the ragged fringe of the national anti-abortion movement. And by parting ways with personhood in Colorado, Gardner could still try to polish his appeal to women, who will likely decide November's election, while remaining friendly with the more powerful anti-abortion crowd. A perfect both-ways strategy.

All that's speculation, I know, but what else can you do when Gardner's own answer defies the facts?

Now the question is, will this work? Can Gardner, who's running against Democratic Sen. Mark Udall, win with a there-is-no-federal-personhood-bill strategy? Or will a new crop of questions that should be asked by reporters force him articulate an actual factual explanation?